Housekeeping

I did some housekeeping on my Flickr account and severely culled my contacts–from somewhere over 250 to slightly under 90. Pretty much got rid of anyone I didn’t actually know (mostly kept people that I know in the real world, though a few more-than-passing-internet-acquaintances made it through as well). This does mean that I won’t be seeing some really good photos from some really good photographers that I don’t know, and may see more average-to-good photos from people I do know, but that seemed an acceptable tradeoff. I had a number of years of connecting to as many people as possible for the slightest of reasons…now I’m at a point where I’d like there to be some amount of more real connection. That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to have met them in meatspace, but I should have at least had enough contact that I have a vague idea of who the are. There were a lot of people on that list that I didn’t recognize at all, and those were quite easy to cull.

A little housekeeping every now and then is a good thing.

Input-Only iPad

The iPad has lots of good creation tools, but it really does excel at providing a convenient way to veg out, and as much as I like having it, I think it has been more than a little responsible for my lack of blogging. Why take the time and effort to write anything when it’s so easy to kick back and let page after page of text and images flow past my eyes?

Meanwhile, I’ve neglected posting to Eclecticism; I have probably a few gigabytes of audio ripped from old vinyl waiting to be processed, imported to iTunes, and perhaps posted to Vinylicious; when I bother to pick up my camera, shots sit on the memory card for weeks or months, and then sit in Aperture for months before I finally get around to processing them and posting to my Flickr account; and who knows how many other projects have been left half-finished here and there.

All in all, while it’s been a busy year, on this level it feels like I don’t really have much to show for it.

So: As the iPad does have the capability to be far more than just a portable idiot box, it’s time to start taking advantage of that. I’ve got the iPad, a text editor, a nice little wireless keyboard (the onscreen keyboard works great and all, but it’s best for short bursts of text–tweets, status updates, comments, short emails, etc.–a real keyboard is much nicer for anything longer than one or two paragraphs), and a whole mess of lately underused grey matter rattling around in my skull. In theory, I should be able to put those together and, perhaps, get back in the habit of babbling on a semi-regular basis.

End of 2012

Well, a fair amount went on in my life this year…not that you’d know from this blog. This is one of those things that I hope to change for 2013. While it isn’t one of those things that I’d call a formal “new year’s resolution”, I do hope to spend a little more time babbling on here than I have over the past year or two.

We’ll see how I do. It’s a good goal, at least…and since I only made four posts in 2012 (this will make five), beating that shouldn’t be terribly difficult.

I have tweaked the design of the site a bit. New year, new look, though still focusing on a nice, clean, simple presentation. Black text, white background, not a lot of flash to get in the way of the content. Just the way I like it.

Christmas 2012 Wishlist

Dad asked me to post my Christmas wish list, so here I go. As usual, what follows is links to four separate Amazon wish lists, as my occasional OCD tendencies mean I categorize my greed. Though I don’t expect anyone other than my parents to get me anything…I’ve been surprised in the past, so feel free to indulge! ;)

In order from “least expensive and most realistic” to “most expensive and I don’t really expect to get anything from these lists, but it sure would be cool!“…

Part the first: Print media. Books! Words on paper! Physical entertainment that doesn’t need plugs, batteries, or anything more than a little free time and a comfortable place to sit. Any books that got added as hardback are perfectly acceptable as paperback if available; I often add these from reviews from when they first come out and hardback is the only option, but we can fit more paperbacks on our shelves.

Part the second: Movies and Music. Audio and audio-visual stimulation. What’s here is a mix of stuff we don’t have and older stuff that I’d like to upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray, but can’t do on my own because I promised Prairie I wouldn’t spend any money on Blu-ray versions of stuff we already own on DVD. Hence, putting those items on a wish list for when Christmas or birthdays roll around.

Part the third: Electronic Gadgets and Gizmos. Just a few things on here. The top two most recently added items would be nice additions to my DJ kit—I’ve got a great setup for iPad DJing, either of those gadgets would interface with my Mac and let me play there as well.

Part the fourth: Photography Bits. Mostly lenses I’d love to add to my kit, but also a couple accessories that would make playing with video a little easier and higher quality.

So there you are: My (sometimes-)biannual “gee, I wonder if anyone feels like blowing money on someone they may or might know over the internet” post!

Political Compass (the third)

This is the third time I’ve taken this test, though it’s been a few years — the first time was in 2002, the second in 2003, and now, nine years later, comes the third time. It seems I’m moving ever further towards that bottom left corner…

2002: -6.12/-5.90
2003: -6.62/-6.41
2012: -7.12/-7.33

My 2012 Political Compass Graph
My 2012 Political Compass Graph

Your Daily Dose of Awkward

I got a mystery package in the mail today. Opening it, I found a fun little surprise to go with the Awkward Family Photos game I mentioned the other day: The 2012 Awkward Family Calendar!

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February 28th and August 8th look like especially good days to me. ;)

Awkward Family Photos: The Game!

Long-time readers will know that my family has been featured on the Awkward Family Photos website not just once, but twice, and both photos were also featured in the Awkward Family Photos book.

Well, you can’t keep a good thing down — we’re now also featured in the Awkward Family Photos game!

Based on a popular website, Awkward Family Photos will be your new favorite party game! Combines classic and never- seen-before Awkward Family Photos with probing, open ended questions for a memorable game night full of laughter and creative discussion. Simply flip over an Awkward Family Photos featuring uncomfortable moments from weddings, vacations, and holidays and read aloud the open ended questions. Your hilarious answers guarantee a night of awkward fun…. and if you know your fellow players well enough, and impress them with your answers, you’ll get the last laugh.

Here’s the sales pitch, courtesy of AFP co-founder Mike Bender’s grandparents:

Life in Ellensburg: All Graduated and Employed!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done much in the way of “real” blogging. Believe me, I know — it’s been bugging me. However, the reason for the delay has been for two very interconnected reasons: I don’t like blogging about things that are happening until they’ve actually happened, and I’ve been a lot busier here than I expected to be. It’s all for good reasons, though — Ellensburg has been treating me very well, as it turns out.

So. Last time I wrote much of anything, I’d just joined Prairie at our little apartment here in Ellensburg, had technically/officially graduated from CWU, and had picked up a temporary part-time job reworking the website for the CWU Department of Law and Justice.

Not long after starting that part-time position, the secretary for CWU’s Math, Writing, and Academic Advising centers left for a new job. Prairie put in a good word for me, and since working on the LAJ website had already put me into CWU’s system, hiring me was easy, so I added a second temporary part-time position covering the secretarial position for those three departments.

Right about the time I was wrapping up my work on the LAJ website, the LAJ secretary put in notice that she’d also accepted a different position. Once again, I happened to present the right combination of availability and ease of hiring — with the added bonus of already having started getting to know the Ellensburg LAJ staff and faculty — so I did a sort of sideways slide from the website work into filling in as the temporary secretary for the LAJ department.

So, for the past couple months, I’ve been working nearly full time in two temporary positions; part-time as the LAJ secretary for half the day, and part-time as the UMC/UWC/AA secretary for the other half of the day. It wasn’t what I was expecting — Prairie and I had both figured that I’d be spending this summer relaxing, goofing off, and generally bumming around Ellensburg — but it’s also felt good to be doing something. Plus, it seemed like both of these positions were great ways to get a foot or two in the door at CWU to see where that might lead.

June was in many ways all about graduation. Early in the month, Prairie and I drove over to the CWU-Kent campus for the annual end-of-year banquet for the Westside Law and Justice students, at which I was awarded Outstanding Graduating Westside Law and Justice Student honors. Then, in mid-June, Prairie and I took a week off of work for the formal graduation ceremonies.

My parents drove down from Alaska, and we started the festivities with the formal Honors Convocation here in Ellensburg, where I was recognized for achieving Dean’s Scholar status. Then we all drove over to the Westside so I could march in the Westside graduation ceremonies with all the classmates with whom I’d actually gone to school. I got my special silver tassel for graduating Magna Cum Laude, marched across the stage, and got my moment on the Jumbotron. Back to Ellensburg for a few days with my parents, a day in Olympia to meet Prairie’s newest niece, and then back to Ellensburg and back to work.

A couple of weeks ago, as soon as the position formally opened, I put in an application for the LAJ secretarial spot that I was filling. Just over a week ago I interviewed, and early this week, I was notified that I was the chosen candidate! Right now, I’m in the midst of my two-weeks notice for my UMC/UWC/AA position as the paperwork goes through for the LAJ spot, then as of mid-July, I’ll officially be the Secretary Senior for the CWU Department of Law and Justice. Not bad at all!

(And as a congratulatory prize, I ordered myself an iPad 2. It hasn’t shipped from Apple yet, but I should have it in another week or two. Yay, new techy geeky toys!)

Meanwhile, Prairie continues to do well running the Writing Center. At this point, we’re sure we’re set to be here in Ellensburg for at least the next year. Though we toyed with the idea of moving up to renting one of the houses nearby, we’ve decided to stay in our little apartment. It’s cute, we have it arranged so that it’s working quite well for both of us, and with both of us working good solid jobs, staying here will allow us to save a ton of money over the next year. At that point, we’ll reassess, decide what we’re going to do and where (if anywhere) we’re going to go, and our next move should be into a home of our own.

So, that’s where things stand at the moment — all in all, pretty darn good.

My First and Only Online Handle

From The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle:

Those of us who came of age alongside AOL must contend with something even more incriminating than a lifelong Google profile: A trail of discarded online aliases, each a distillation of how we viewed ourselves and our place in the world at the time of sign-on. The dawn of the Internet was an open invitation to free ourselves from the names our parents gave us and forge self-made identities divorced from our reputations IRL.

(via kottke)

I’m actually kind of lucky in this respect. I’ve only ever used one online handle, and while I’ve deprecated it a bit these days in favor of my real name, I still actively use it as a login name and occasional identifier. Most anyone who’s interacted with me online for any appreciable amount of time will recognize my online alias of djwudi.

A long time ago (though not in a galaxy far, far away), I was over at my friend Royce‘s house when his dad remarked that I “looked like a young Woody Allen.”

For a time, this little nugget of trivia was known only to Royce’s family and my own. At some point during my later high school years, though, a few things (namely, frustration at their being so many other Michaels in my age group, and a teenage-angst fueled desire to be “someone else”) led to my deciding to adopt the nickname of “Woody” full-time. It started with the yearbook and theater crew (both of which I was very involved with), and began to spread from there.

In the post-graduation years, I used “Woody” almost exclusively, in the social world and at my jobs. It wasn’t long before there were more people who knew me by “Woody” than by Michael.

Round about 1992 or so, the Anchorage alternative scene was somewhat in hibernation, especially for those under 21. I talked my way into a DJ spot at one club, then moved on to another, and then another, eventually spending around eight years DJing alternative/goth/industrial/retro/anything-but-pop for the Anchorage scene. My “DJ name” was obvious: DJ Woody, or, depending on how I felt when writing it out on flyers, DJ Wüdi, playing off Royce’s pseudo-Germanic version of my nickname.

The DJing eventually moved on into past tense rather than present, but as the world of the Internet grew, I soon found that short, unique names were both desirable and valuable, and that smooshing everything together into “djwudi” produced a string that, to date and to my knowledge, has not been used by anyone other than myself.

As the years have gone by, I’ve returned to using my given name in the real world and online, but I still claim djwudi on any site I sign up for.

Troubled

Prairie and I were watching a movie last night, and so we missed the announcement of the Big News. After the movie, as I scrolled through my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I got more and more disturbed. Not surprised, really…but I just wasn’t comfortable with most of what I was seeing people post (and was outright offended by some of it, particularly the picture going around of the Statue of Liberty holding Osama’s bloody head high…that’s uncool on so many levels, I’m a little embarrassed to see it popping up multiple times in my friend lists).

I just want to take a moment to call out three friends (one of whom I’ve never even met in person) for making posts more in line with my own feelings on the matter.

Never was a person to celebrate another person’s death. No matter how heinous they are, that is still a life.

Kirsten

OK, here are my feelings on the whole Bin Laden thing: I’m not comfortable, ethically, with celebrating any death (no matter who died, or how symbolically/politically loaded it was), but I don’t feel sorry that he died, and I hope it gives some people a sense of justice or closure. I do think that cheering someone’s (anyone’s) murder is really, really low and uncool. Just sayin’.

Lori

So, Osama’s dead. Given the man was responsible for thousands’ death, and the life-changing misery of their loved ones, there’s no question I feel justice was done, albeit at 10 freaking years’ remove. But — solely in my opinion, mind you — the proper reaction to such for an average American is not to break out Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” A grim smile at justice performed, and then moving on with one’s life.

Mike

Thanks to the three of you (and anyone else with similar sentiments that I may not have seen) for helping confirm that I’m not alone in my reaction to the news.